Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Signature Collection (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
January 30, 2016 by Dennis Amith
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Signature Collection” manages to retain the high quality that Disney animated classics on Blu-ray are known for. Magnificent picture quality and lossless audio plus many special features. Overall, a wonderful release on Blu-ray but definitely not the definitive version on Blu-ray to own.
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TITLE: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Signature Collection
DURATION: 83 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz/24-Bit), French and Spanish 5.1, DEHT Restored Original theatrical soundtrack, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
RATED: G (General Audience)
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Based on the fairy tale by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm
Directed by David Hand
Story adaptation by Ted Sears, Richard Creedo, Otto Englander, Dick Rickard, Earl Hurd, Merrill De Maris, Dorothy Ann Blank and Webb Smith
Produced by Walt Disney
Music by Frank Churchill, Leigh Harline, Paul J. Smith
Art Direction by Ken Anderson, Tom Codrick, Hugh Hennesy, Harold Miles, Kendall O’Connor, Charles Philippi, Hazel Sewell, Terrell Stapp, McLaren Stewart, Gustaf Tenggren, John Hubley
Adriana Caselotti as Snow White
Lucille La Verne as the Queen/Witch
Roy Atwell as Doc
Eddie Collins as Dopey
Pinto Colvig as Sleepy and Grumpy
Billy Gilbert as Sneezy
Otis Harlan as Happy
Scott Mattraw as Bashful
Moroni Olsen as Magic Mirror
Harry Stockwell as Prince
Marion Darlington as Bird Sounds and Warbling
Stuart Buchanan as Huntsman
No film in history has captured the world’s imagination like Walt Disney’s first full-length animated masterpiece. Through astonishing Blu-ray high definition technology, experience this timeless classic in its most spectacular presentation ever! With an all new, state-of-the-art digital restoration and Disney enhanced High Definition sound, the breathtaking animation and unforgettable music o the most revered Disney film of all time will enthrall you like never before!
Join the beautiful princess Snow White as she escapes her jealous stepmother, the queen, and befriends a lovable group of dwarfs. When she falls under the queen’s wicked spell, only true love’s kiss can save her.
For Walt Disney, seeing a play back in 1916 of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” based on the fairty tale by the Brothers Grimm definitely made the producer to attempt something that has never been done before and that is to create a full-length color animated film.
Known for their “Silly Symphony” animated shorts, the 1937 animated film definitely silenced anyone who thought that Disney was not able to pull off a full-length animated feature. Even Walt Disney’s wife thought that no one would want to watch a film that starred dwarfs but needless to say, the film that was called “Disney’s Folly” by naysayers would receive critical praise and even demand by fans for a sequel. The film would be not only be a classic animated film which was honored by the American Film Institute as the “Greatest Animation of All Time”. Even today, adjusted by inflation, the film is considered one of the top 10 money making films in America of all time.
In 2001, when the “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was released on DVD, the DVD was one of the films that were known for its innovation, winning a “Video Premiere Award” for “Best Overall New Extra Features” and nominated for “Best DVD Menu Design” and “Best New, Enhanced or Reconstructed Movie Scenes”.
In 2009, the film makde its High Definition entry on Blu-ray with 1080p High Definition picture quality and 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound. Also, a Disney Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack (two Blu-ray discs and a DVD version of the film) and in 2016, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” will be released on Blu-ray once again via “The Signature Edition”.
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” is a film about a princess named Snow White who lives with her wicked stepmother, the Queen. Her stepmother always consults the magic mirror on who is the fairest one of all, and the magic mirror would reply that she is but this time the mirror tells the Queen that Snow White is the fairest one of all.
Not a caring stepmother, she has Snow White working as a Scullery Maid and is seen wearing clothes that are patched up and are in tatters. But Snow White is always jovial, singing and playing with her animals who respond to her.
But one day, a prince comes to her and wants to be with her, the wicked step mother sees this and is immediately jealous. The wicked queen asks her huntsman to take Snow White into the forest where she can pick wildflowers and then he will kill her and as proof of killing her, he must return with Snow White’s heart in a box.
As the huntsman, goes to do what the Queen has ordered him to do, he can’t. He tells Snow White that her stepmother has ordered him to kill her and that he should run as far as she can. Snow White does and takes refuge at the home of the seven dwarfs: Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy and Dopey.
Can Snow White keep safe away from her evil step mother or will the Wicked Queen get to her?
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” gets its 1080p High Definition transfer and its absolutely beautiful. Viewers can choose to watch the film in its original 4:3 (1:33:1) format. This is the same release as the 2009 Blu-ray release and for that original release, restoration experts took full advantage of the newest breakthroughs of digital imaging technologies to produce this classic. The process took nearly a year of cleanup and scanning over 350,000 frames of the original negative. And the digital artists then removed dust and scratches from the cels.
The picture quality is absolutely beautiful for a film that is over 75-years old. The restoration and remastering has removed all dust and scratches. I don’t think I’ve seen any blemishes on video. The picture quality is absolutely beautiful as art backgrounds just look absolutely divine. I don’t think I have realized how exquisite the backgrounds were, especially the amount of emotion that went into the animation. Picture quality for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Signature Collection” is definitely magnificent and I look forward to seeing Disney continue this trend of remastering their classic animated films.
As for the accompanying DVD, the DVD is featured in an aspect ratio of 1:33:1.
Audio is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz/24-bit), the original mono presentation and also French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. The film is dialogue and music driven with the soundtrack being front and center channel driven. Music is also featured during the surround and rear surround channels as well. Dialogue and music is crystal clear and understandable. During the more emotional sequences, such as Snow White running away from home in the forest, definitely makes the room quite immersive, albeit a short while but overall, a good use of utilizing the music of Snow White through all channels. There are other parts that really come through on all channels such as a shriek by Snow White coming clear from the rear surrounds which was quite nice (and surprising). Overall, a solid lossless audio soundtrack for this animated classic.
As for the audio of the accompanying DVD, the DVD comes with an English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English monaural soundtrack.
Subtitles are provided in English SDH, French and Spanish.
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Signature Collection” is a solid Blu-ray release but features less special features than the 2009 Diamond Edition Blu-ray release. Unlike the 2009 Blu-ray release which came with two Blu-ray disc for special features, all special features are contained on one disc. But this Signature Edition also comes with new features not included in the 2009 Blu-ray release.
- In Walt’s Worlds: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – (4:22) A new special feature with a 1956 interview with Walt Disney.
- Iconography – (7:16) A new featurette that examines the iconic objects, elements and dialogue of the film and the legacy of the film which inspired others.
- @DisneyAnimation: Designing Disney’s First Princess – (5:16) A new featurette, animator Mark Henn, Art Director Michael Giaimo, Art Director Bill Schwab, and Art Director Lorelay Bové discuss the animation and design of the film.
- The Fairest Facts of Them All: 7 Things You May Not Know About Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – (4:37) A new featurette, “Descendants” star Sofia Carson discusses seven facts about the film.
- Snow White in Seventy Seconds – (1:12) A new featurette and literally a rap about Snow White in 70 seconds.
- Alternative Sequence: The Prince Meets Snow White – (3:39) A new never-before-seen sequence.
- Disney’s First Feature: The Making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – (33:15) Disney’s first attempt at a full-length animated feature film and how naysayers responded to the film. An extended version of the original “The One that Started It All” special feature from the Diamond Edition.
- Bringing Snow White to Life – (11:33) A featurette about the nine key animators of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”.
- Magic Mirror – Using the latest in Blu-ray technology, the iconic magic Mirror guides the audience through the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition features with ease, serving as the host for an incredibly immersive experience. The Mirror will recognize viewing patterns, knows where the audience has left off and will even suggest where to navigate next. This marks the first use of this technology in a Disney Blu-ray release and provides viewers with the control to personally create a customized Snow White experience.
- DisneyView – Disney’s pioneering animated feature is brought to the modern era of widescreen high definition viewing by allowing the user to expand their viewing experience beyond the original aspect ratio of the film. Utilizing Disney Blu-ray technology, acclaimed Disney artist Toby Bluth was able to draw beyond the borders of the classic full frame cinema and fill the otherwise dark edges of the screen with beautiful custom imagery, giving audiences a new view of the animated classic favorite.
- About DisneyView – Disney artist Toby Bluth tells how the movie inspired him to create the superb DisneyView art.
- Backstage Disney – Snow White Returns – (8:44) – Visiting Disney’s Animation Research Library and finding newly discovered storyboards for a Snow White featurette that was never made. Also, the popularity of the dwarfs.
- Bringing Snow White to Life – (11:35) The nine key animators who worked on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and how they brought the film to life.
- Hyperion Studios Tour – (30:36) Audiences are digitally transported to 1937 to discover first-hand Hyperion Studios, the original studio Walt Disney himself built where Snow White was conceived and developed. Viewers will virtually walk the halls of this historic landmark, experiencing life at Hyperion Studios in the 1930s. This lengthy, informative and brilliant“Backstage Disney” feature contains newly dimensionalized archival photos, never-before-heard animator recordings, archival transcripts and rare footage of Walt himself revealing how Disney’s gifted filmmakers crafted the very first animated feature.Hours of footage of the original studio that Walt Disney and the animators worked at in creation of the early Disney shorts and their first animated feature film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. Even the sub-menus have content and comments from the animators who worked at Hyperion Studios back then.
- Decoding the Exposure Sheet – (6:47) Don Hahn talks about the exposure sheet and the making of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”.
- Story Meetings: The Dwarfs – (5:49) John Musker introduces a re-enactment of the Dwarf meetings.
- Story Meetings: The Huntsman – (3:28) Ron Clements talks about how Walt Disney’s meetings were back then and how they differ from how meetings are done today’s animated films.
- Deleted Scenes – Two scenes that were cut out of the film. “The Soup Eating Sequence” (4:07) and the “Bed Building Sequence” (6:23)
- Animation Voice Talent – (6:18) A featurette with interviews with the animators, voice talent and Disney historians in regards to “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. How Walt Disney wanted the right voice for the characters.
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Roy E. Disney and animation historian John Canemaker.
When the first “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” Platinum Edition DVD was released back in 2001, I felt that the DVD set the bar of the amount of special features and how innovative a DVD can be through seamless branching technology. Needless to say, the DVD won several awards for its technology and so, when the announcement came that “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” would receive a Diamond Edition Blu-ray disc release, I was greatly impressed by how gorgeous the film sounded and how crisp and clear the soundtrack was, in addition it coming with two discs of special features.
Seven years later, here we are with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Signature Edition” and for the most part, this is the same gorgeous Blu-ray release with a solid soundtrack. But this time around, a lot of the special features that were included in the Diamond Edition were dropped, while the Signature Collection adds about six new special features and an extra extended edition of another special feature.
While I wish I could call this the definitive version of the film, the truth is that the 2009 “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition” Blu-ray release was no doubt in my mind a special release and the definitive version to own because it was Disney’s first animated feature on Blu-ray and they gave it the best treatment as possible.
Not only was the release a celebration of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, it’s also a celebration of the talent behind the film. Those who were involved with Hyperion Studios that created the “Silly Symphonies” animated shorts back in the early 1930’s and using the technology at that time and building it, in order to create their first full feature animated masterpiece, Disney did a magnificent job honoring these individuals.
But by no means is “The Signature Collection” worse, it’s a fantastic Blu-ray release and there are no doubt that Disney animated fans will re-purchase this release just for the new special features. But for those wondering if they need to upgrade their 2009 “Diamond Edition” for the 2016 “The Signature Collection”, the answer is no.
I know that many people who still own the 2001 Platinum DVD Edition of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and are wondering if it’s worth the double dip and the answer is YES! While I recommend the “Diamond Edition”, because that is a little difficult to find these days, I do recommend getting “The Signature Collection” because in addition for the wonderful picture and audio quality, there are way more special features than the 2001 Platinum Edition DVD.
But I must say that you should not toss away your 2001 Platinum DVD edition because there are video clips such as the “Excerpt from The Story of Silly Symphony”, “Excerpt from Tricks of Our Trade”, “Camera Tests”, “Abandoned Concepts”, vintage audio (radio shows and spots are not included) and several songs and deleted scenes which are not included on the Diamond Edition or The Signature Collection Blu-ray release.
So, overall it’s a no-brainer that “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Signature Collection” is definitely worth it. For High Definition fans, the film looks and sounds absolutely gorgeous on Blu-ray. And as mentioned, the sheer amount of content included in this release. It’s just if you want the definitive edition, I would go for the Diamond Edition
So, overall…”Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Signature Collection” manages to retain the high quality that Disney animated classics on Blu-ray are known for. Magnificent picture quality and lossless audio plus many special features. Overall, a wonderful release on Blu-ray but definitely not the definitive version on Blu-ray to own.
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